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Chapter 15

15:1 In the morning [prōi]. The ratification meeting after day. See on Mt 26:1-5 for details. Held a consultation [sumboulion poiēsantes]. So text of Westcott and Hort (Vulgate consilium facientes), though they give [hetoimasantes] in the margin. The late and rare word [sumboulion] is like the Latin consilium. If [hetoimasantes] is the correct text, the idea would be rather to prepare a concerted plan of action (Gould). But their action was illegal on the night before and they felt the need of this ratification after dawn which is described in Lu 22:66-71, who does not give the illegal night trial. Bound Jesus [dēsantes ton Iēsoun]. He was bound on his arrest (Joh 18:12) when brought before Annas who sent him on bound to Caiaphas (Joh 18:24) and now he is bound again as he is sent to Pilate (Mr 15:1; Mt 27:2). It is implied that he was unbound while before Annas and then before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin.

15:2 Art thou the King of the Jews? [Su ei ho basileus tōn Ioudaiōn;]. This is the only one of the charges made by the Sanhedrin to Pilate (Lu 23:2) that he notices. He does not believe this one to be true, but he has to pay attention to it or be liable to charges himself of passing over a man accused of rivalry and revolution against Caesar. Joh 18:28-32 gives the interview with Jesus that convinces Pilate that he is a harmless religious fanatic. See on Mt 26:11. Thou sayest [su legeis]. An affirmation, though in Joh 18:34-37 there is a second and fuller interview between Pilate and Jesus. “Here, as in the trial before the Sanhedrin, this is the one question that Jesus answers. It is the only question on which his own testimony is important and necessary” (Gould). The Jews were out on the pavement or sidewalk outside the palace while Pilate came out to them from above on the balcony (Joh 18:28f.) and had his interviews with Jesus on the inside, calling Jesus thither (Joh 18:33).

15:3 Accused him of many things [katēgoroun autou polla]. Imperfect tense, repeated accusations besides those already made. They let loose their venom against Jesus. One of the common verbs for speaking against in court [kata] and [agoreuō]. It is used with the genitive of the person and the accusative of the thing.

15:5 Marvelled [thaumazein]. Pilate was sure of the innocence of Jesus and saw through their envy (Mr 15:10), but he was hoping that Jesus would answer these charges to relieve him of the burden. He marvelled also at the self-control of Jesus.

15:6 Used to release [apeluen]. Imperfect tense of customary action where Mt 27:15 has the verb [eiōthei] (was accustomed to). They asked of him [parēitounto]. Imperfect middle, expressing their habit also.

15:7 Bound with them that had made insurrection [meta tōn stasiastōn dedemenos]. A desperate criminal, leader in the insurrection, sedition [en tēi stasei], or revolution against Rome, the very thing that the Jews up at Bethsaida Julias had wanted Jesus to lead (Joh 6:15). Barabbas was the leader of these rioters and was bound with them. Had committed murder [phonon pepoiēkeisan]. Past perfect indicative without augment. Murder usually goes with such rioters and the priests and people actually chose a murderer in preference to Jesus.

15:7 As he was wont to do unto them [kathōs epoiei autois]. Imperfect of customary action again and dative case.

15:9 The King of the Jews [ton basilea tōn Ioudaiōn]. That phrase from this charge sharpened the contrast between Jesus and Barabbas which is bluntly put in Mt 27:17 “Barabbas or Jesus which is called Christ.” See discussion there.

15:10 He perceived [eginōsken]. Imperfect tense descriptive of Pilate’s growing apprehension from their conduct which increased his intuitive impression at the start. It was gradually dawning on him. Both Mark and Matthew give “envy” [phthonon] as the primary motive of the Sanhedrin. Pilate probably had heard of the popularity of Jesus by reason of the triumphal entry and the temple teaching. Had delivered [paradedōkeisan]. Past perfect indicative without augment where Mt 27:17 has the first aorist (kappa aorist) indicative [paredōkan], not preserving the distinction made by Mark. The aorist is never used “as” a past perfect.

15:11 Stirred up [aneseisan]. Shook up like an earthquake [seismos]. Mt 27:20 has a weaker word, “persuaded” [epeisan]. Effective aorist indicative. The priests and scribes had amazing success. If one wonders why the crowd was fickle, he may recall that this was not yet the same people who followed him in triumphal entry and in the temple. That was the plan of Judas to get the thing over before those Galilean sympathizers waked up. “It was a case of regulars against an irregular, of priests against prophet” (Gould). “But Barabbas, as described by Mark, represented a popular passion, which was stronger than any sympathy they might have for so unworldly a character as Jesus—the passion for political liberty” (Bruce). “What unprincipled characters they were! They accuse Jesus to Pilate of political ambition, and they recommend Barabbas to the people for the same reason” (Bruce). The Sanhedrin would say to the people that Jesus had already abdicated his kingly claims while to Pilate they went on accusing him of treason to Caesar. Rather (māllon). Rather than Jesus. It was a gambler’s choice.

15:12 Whom ye call the King of the Jews [hon legete ton basilea tōn Ioudaiōn]. Pilate rubs it in on the Jews (cf. verse 9). The “then” [oun] means since you have chosen Barabbas instead of Jesus.

15:13 Crucify him [Staurōson auton]. Lu 23:21 repeats the verb. Mt 27:22 has it, “Let him be crucified.” There was a chorus and a hubbub of confused voices all demanding crucifixion for Christ. Some of the voices beyond a doubt had joined in the hallelujahs to the Son of David in the triumphal entry. See on Mt 27:23 for discussion of Mr 15:14.

15:15 To content the multitude [tōi ochlōi to hikanon poiēsai]. A Latin idiom (satisfacere alicui), to do what is sufficient to remove one’s ground of complaint. This same phrase occurs in Polybius, Appian, Diogenes Laertes, and in late papyri. Pilate was afraid of this crowd now completely under the control of the Sanhedrin. He knew what they would tell Caesar about him. See on Mt 27:26 for discussion of the scourging.

15:16 The Praetorium [praitōrion]. In Mt 27:27 this same word is translated “palace.” That is its meaning here also, the palace in which the Roman provincial governor resided. In Php 1:13 it means the Praetorian Guard in Rome. Mark mentions here “the court” [tēs aulēs] inside of the palace into which the people passed from the street through the vestibule. See further on Matthew about the “band.”

15:17 Purple [porphuran]. Mt 27:27 has “scarlet robe” which see for discussion as well as for the crown of thorns.

15:19 Worshipped him [prosekunoun]. In mockery. Imperfect tense as are [etupton] (smote) and [eneptuon] (did spit upon). Repeated indignities.

15:20 They lead him out [exagousin auton]. Vivid historical present after imperfects in verse 19.

15:21 They compel [aggareuousin]. Dramatic present indicative again where Mt 27:32 has the aorist. For this Persian word see on Mt 5:41; 27:32. Coming out of the country [erchomenon ap’ agrou]. Hence Simon met the procession. Mark adds that he was “the father of Alexander and Rufus.” Paul mentions a Rufus in Ro 16:13, but it was a common name and proves nothing. See on Mt 27:32 for discussion of cross-bearing by criminals. Luke adds “after Jesus” [opisthen tou Iēsou]. But Jesus bore his own cross till he was relieved of it, and he walked in front of his own cross for the rest of the way.

15:22 They bring him [pherousin auton]. Historical present again. See on Mt 27:33f. for discussion of Golgotha.

15:23 They offered him [edidoun autōi]. Imperfect tense where Matthew has the aorist [edōkan]. Mingled with myrrh [esmurnismenon]. Perfect passive participle. The verb means flavoured with myrrh, myrrhed wine. It is not inconsistent with Mt 27:34 “mingled with gall,” which see. But he received it not [hos de ouk elaben]. Note the demonstrative [hos] with [de]. Matthew has it that Jesus was not willing to take. Mark’s statement is that he refused it.

15:24 What each should take [tis ti ārēi]. Only in Mark. Note double interrogative, Who What? The verb [arēi] is first aorist active deliberative subjunctive retained in the indirect question. The details in Mr 15:24-32 are followed closely by Mt 27:35-44. See there for discussion of details.

15:25 The third hour [hōra tritē]. This is Jewish time and would be nine A.M. The trial before Pilate was the sixth hour Roman time (Joh 19:14), six A.M.

15:26 The superscription [hē epigraphē]. The writing upon the top of the cross (our word epigraph). Lu 23:37 has this same word, but Mt 27:37 has “accusation” [aitian]. See Matthew for discussion. Joh 19:19 has “title” [titlon].

15:32 Now come down [katabatō nun]. Now that he is nailed to the cross. That we may see and believe [hina idōmen kai pisteusōmen]. Aorist subjunctive of purpose with [hina]. They use almost the very language of Jesus in their ridicule, words that they had heard him use in his appeals to men to see and believe. Reproached him [ōneidizon auton]. Imperfect tense. They did it several times. Mark and Matthew both fail to give the story of the robber who turned to Christ on the Cross as told in Lu 23:39-43.

15:33 The sixth hour [hōras hektēs]. That is, noon (Jewish time), as the third hour was nine A.M. (Mr 15:25). See on Mt 27:45 for discussion. Given also by Lu 23:44. Mark gives the Aramaic transliteration as does B in Mt 27:45, which see for discussion. Forsaken [egkatelipes]. Some MSS. give [ōneidisas] (reproached). We are not able to enter into the fulness of the desolation felt by Jesus at this moment as the Father regarded him as sin (2Co 5:21). This desolation was the deepest suffering. He did not cease to be the Son of God. That would be impossible.

15:35 He calleth Elijah [Eleian phōnei]. They misunderstood the [Elōi] or [Elei] (my God) for Elijah.

15:36 To take him down [kathelein auton]. Mt 27:49 has “to save him” [sōsōn], which see for discussion.

15:37 Gave up the ghost [exepneusen]. Literally, breathed out. See “yielded up his spirit” in Mt 27:50 for discussion for details. Mark uses this word [exepneusen] again in verse 39.

15:39 The centurion [ho kenturiōn]. A Latin word (centurio) used also in verse 44 and here only in the N.T. Which stood by over against him [ho parestēkōs ex enantias autou]. This description alone in Mark, picturing the centurion “watching Jesus” (Mt 27:54). So [houtōs]. With the darkness and the earthquake. See on Mt 27:54 for discussion of “the Son of God,” more probably “a Son of God.”

15:40 And Salome [kai Salōmē]. Apparently the “mother of the sons of Zebedee” (Mt 27:56). Only in Mark.

15:41 Followed him and ministered unto him [ēkolouthoun kai diēkonoun autōi]. Two imperfects describing the long Galilean ministry of these three women and many other women in Galilee (Lu 8:1-3) who came up with him [hai sunanabāsai autōi] to Jerusalem. This summary description in Mark is paralleled in Mt 27:55f. and Lu 23:49. These faithful women were last at the Cross as they stood afar and saw the dreadful end to all their hopes.

15:42 The preparation [paraskeuē]. Mark explains the term as meaning “the day before the sabbath” [prosabbaton], that is our Friday, which began at sunset. See discussion on Mt 27:57. The Jews had already taken steps to get the bodies removed (Joh 19:31).

15:43 A councillor of honourable estate [euschēmōn bouleutēs]. A senator or member of the Sanhedrin of high standing, rich (Mt 27:57). Looking for the Kingdom of God [ēn prosdechomenos tēn basileian tou theou]. Periphrastic imperfect. Also Lu 23:51. The very verb used by Luke of Simeon and Anna (Lu 2:25,38). Mt 27:57 calls him “Jesus’ disciple” while Joh 19:37 adds “secretly for fear of the Jews.” He had evidently taken no public stand for Jesus before now. Boldly [tolmēsas]. Aorist (ingressive) active participle, becoming bold. It is the glory of Joseph and Nicodemus, secret disciples of Jesus, that they took a bold stand when the rest were in terror and dismay. That is love psychology, paradoxical as it may seem.

15:44 If he were already dead [ei ēdē tethnēken]. Perfect active indicative with [ei] after a verb of wondering, a classical idiom, a kind of indirect question just as we say “I wonder if.” Usually death by crucifixion was lingering. This item is only in Mark. Whether he had been any while dead [ei palai apethanen]. B D read [ēdē] (already) again here instead of [palai] (a long time). Mark does not tell the request of the Jews to Pilate that the legs of the three might be broken (Joh 19:31-37). Pilate wanted to make sure that Jesus was actually dead by official report.

15:45 Granted the corpse [edōrēsato to ptōma]. This official information was necessary before the burial. As a matter of fact Pilate was probably glad to turn the body over to Joseph else the body would go to the potter’s field. This is the only instance when [ptōma] (cadaver, corpse) is applied to the body [sōma] of Jesus, the term used in Mt 27:59; Lu 23:53; Joh 19:40).

15:46 Wound [eneilēsen]. This word is only here in the N.T. As [entulissō] is only in Mt 27:59; Lu 23:53; Joh 20:7. Both verbs occur in the papyri, Plutarch, etc. They both mean to wrap, wind, roll in. The body of Jesus was wound in the linen cloth bought by Joseph and the hundred pounds of spices brought by Nicodemus (Joh 19:39) for burying were placed in the folds of the linen and the linen was bound around the body by strips of cloth (Joh 19:40). The time was short before the sabbath began and these two reverently laid the body of the Master in Joseph’s new tomb, hewn out of a rock. The perfect passive participle [lelatomēmenon] is from [latomos], a stonecutter [lōs], stone, [temnō], to cut). For further details see on Mt 27:57-60. Lu 23:53 and Joh 19:41 also tell of the new tomb of Joseph. Some modern scholars think that this very tomb has been identified in Gordon’s Calvary north of the city. Against the door [epi tēn thuran]. Matthew has the dative [tēi thurāi] without [epi] and adds the adjective “great” [megan].

15:47 Beheld [etheōroun]. Imperfect tense picturing the two Marys “sitting over against the sepulchre” (Mt 27:61) and watching in silence as the shadows fell upon all their hopes and dreams. Apparently these two remained after the other women who had been beholding from afar the melancholy end (Mr 15:40) had left and “were watching the actions of Joseph and Nicodemus” (Swete). Probably also they saw the body of Jesus carried and hence they knew where it was laid and saw that it remained there [tetheitai], perfect passive indicative, state of completion). “It is evident that they constituted themselves a party of observation” (Gould).

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